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October 25, 2021 3:40 pm
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British Jews Slam UK Green Party for Adopting ‘Contradictory’ Definitions of Antisemitism

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A Green Party march in London. Photo: Alan Stanton / Flickr

The Green Party of England and Wales has adopted guidance that includes multiple, contradictory definitions of antisemitism, drawing a rebuke from a leading UK Jewish communal organization.

Passed at the party’s annual Autumn Conference, the document incorporates both the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition as well as the Jerusalem Declaration — introduced as an “alternative” by critics of the IHRAs standard for an “undue emphasis” on Israel-related antisemitism.

The motion to adopt the definitions explicitly stated that “this motion does not in any way conflict with other policies on, for example, BDS and freedom of speech, and will not prevent legitimate criticism of the actions of any nation state.”

The Green party officially supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

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According to a report in the left-wing site Left Foot Forward, Joshua Alston, who proposed the resolution, said in support, “This motion would put us at the vanguard of the fight against antisemitism, and at the vanguard of the fight against the global far-right while protecting our pro-Palestinian policy.”

After the motion passed, a Green party member of the London Assembly, Zack Polanski, said, “This is a definition which helps in understanding about antisemitism and also prevents false accusations of antisemitism.”

Monday, Board of Deputies of British Jews Vice President Amanda Bowman sharply criticized the Green party’s adoption of the various definitions.

“By adopting a series of contradictory definitions of antisemitism, the Green Party has not helped Jews,” she said.

“The Board of Deputies advice is clear: the globally-respected International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition is the only definition that should be adopted,” Bowman added.

She concluded, “By adopting other definitions, the Green Party is attempting to please both the mainstream Jewish community and those determined to claim that criticizing Israel can never under any circumstances be antisemitic. They simply cannot have it both ways.”

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